Sidney J. Phelps


March 27, 1931 - July 26, 2023 

Sidney J. Phelps, 92, of Spearfish, S.D., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 26, 2023, at Monument Hospital in Rapid City, S.D.

He was born to William and Anna Phelps on March 27, 1931, in Hot Springs. He married Marian Rockvam in January of 1999. They had a happy life of travel and adventure together. Sid was a loving, caring husband, father, grandfather and friend.

He knew at an early age that he had a passion for music. He attended Nebraska State College in Chadron, Neb. and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music in 1952 and his Master’s Degree in 1960. His passion for music extended well over 31 years of teaching music education, with 12 years in Nebraska, 13 years in Alaska and 6 years in South Dakota. He also served 2 years in the U.S. Army as instructor and director in a band training unit at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.

While in Alaska, he was a music specialist in the Anchorage Public School System. During this time, he and his fellow music educators developed “Music Is Fun” and brought a happy, lighthearted program to the public schools to show that music was indeed fun. He taught music education at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He also served as a clinician for the Silver Burdett Music Publishing Company.  Always keeping active as a trumpet player, he played various shows traveling in Alaska, such as the Bob Hope shows, and the Ice Capades, as well as having his own traditional jazz band. There were several summers that his Dixie Band could be heard at the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, S.D., and elsewhere. His music interests were wide and varied, including a U.S. patent on a musical instrument and the study and construction of Native American Flutes. He was inducted into the Dakota Musician’s Association Hall of Fame, 2002.

Sid is survived by his wife, Marian Phelps, Spearfish; his children. Susan Sutton (EG), Anchorage, Alaska, Tami Phelps (Kerry), Anchorage, Alaska, Jay Phelps (Kathy), Hot Springs, John Phelps (Barbara), Anchorage, Alaska and Jim Phelps (Heather), Sherwood, Ore; grandchildren, Michael Wise (Sara), Amy Wise, Adrianna and Jade Phelps and Zane and Jack Phelps; great-grandchildren, Derrik Wise (Kenzi), Hannah, Tanner and Carter Wise; step-children Loni Johnson (Paul), Perry Rockvam (Lynnette), Brett Rockvam (Tammy), and Jan Pulkrabek (Merritt); step-grandchildren, Michael Johnson, Mark Johnson (Jenn), Laura Johnson, Josh Rockvam, Katie Gray (Todd), Lindsay Kirkbride (Taylor), Matthew Pulkrabek, Abram Pulkrabek (Julia), and Eli Pulkrabek (Kaitlyn); step-great-grandchildren, Adoniram and Annabelle Johnson, Myles and Mason Kirkbride, and Alayna Pulkrabek.

He is preceded in death by his first wife, Ardis Phelps; father, William Phelps; mother, Anna Phelps and sister, Frances Phelps.

Services will be held on Monday, August 7, 2023, with an open viewing at 9:30 a.m. at United Church of Christ in Spearfish, with memorial services to follow at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be hosted by the UCC Women’s Fellowship after the service. Internment and burial at the Black Hills National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. Memorials will be donated to the Spearfish UCC .

Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Isburg Funeral Chapels and Isburg Crematory of Spearfish. Online condolences may be written at

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
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